The AMA Statement of Ethical Norms & Values

Instructor: Graziella McCarron

Graziella is an ethics and leadership educator and maintains a workforce and career development background. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services.

In this lesson, you will learn about the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the key components of its Statement of Ethical Norms and Values. You will explore why this statement is so important to the AMA and its membership.

What Is the AMA?

Close your eyes and think back to a time when you encountered a really wonderful advertisement for a product or service. What made the ad so great? Was it so memorable because you found it to meet a need or target an audience perfectly? Have you wondered why an advertisement can be so effective? Or how companies know which audiences to target for certain products? Or why a commercial is aired on certain channels during a certain hour? Answers to these questions involve the practice of effective marketing and marketing research campaigns.

Marketing is how information about products and services is communicated to customers. Like other industries and disciplines, the marketing profession has an organization dedicated to helping the marketing community - this organization is the AMA, or American Marketing Association. The AMA has global reach and is committed to supporting its members with the knowledge and tools to be better marketers. In order to serve the community consistently, the AMA created a Statement of Ethical Norms and Values.

Ethical Norms

What is an ethical norm? Norms may be defined as standardized ways of conduct and behavior (e.g., treating everyone fairly) in a society, company, or other organization. Given what know about ethical norms, we understand that the AMA Statement of Ethical Norms and Values provides the AMA membership and marketing community with a standardized map for how to interact with colleagues, with customers, and with the larger society in a professional, consistent, and appropriate way.

The AMA Statement of Ethical Norms and Values encourages the marketing community to abide by the following three Ethical Norms:

  • Do no harm: Avoid harming others by making good choices and acting in accordance with ethical standards, rules, and legal guidelines. Example: Marketing for Company A's product is not done at the expense of hurting customers with faulty information.
  • Foster trust in the marketing system: Act fairly and truthfully in all marketing practices such as pricing, communication, etc. Example: Marketing for Company A's product is truthful and reflects the product's capabilities.
  • Embrace ethical values: Build connections with consumers and boost their trust in marketing by maintaining the six core ethical values of responsibility, honesty, respect, fairness, transparency, and citizenship. Example: Marketing for Company A's product exemplifies these key principles in the way it takes responsibility for actions and communications with the public.

Ethical Values

How do you think the AMA defines each of its ethical values? What is a value? Values can be described as the virtues and principles desired in a society, company, or other organization. These values might include love, courage, family, loyalty, etc. and serve as a guide to behavior and conduct. As part of embracing ethical values, the AMA's Statement of Ethical Norms and Values asks that its community live six core ethical values. Those values are defined as:

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